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Creating a healthy meal starts with the pots and pans you use to cook with. I have created the ultimate guide for sustainable cookware so that you can see the benefits and pitfalls of each variety.
Today’s industries patent new materials and synthetic chemicals on a daily basis. Their hope is to create stronger longer-lasting products.
While it is important to continuously create new technologies that push us into the future, the long-term effects of these products are not known until many decades later.
One revolutionary creation that helps chefs and people across the world is the invention of the non-stick pan.
Cookware: Stainless Steel vs.Teflon vs. Ceramic
Today, cookware typically come in three varieties: stainless steel, Teflon and ceramic.
The stainless steel option tends to be on the more expensive side. Although the stainless steel coating that comes into contact with your food does not leach toxins, other metals within the interior of the pan may.
Typically stainless steel cookware is a composite of materials. These include iron, carbon, and chromium along with small percentages of nickel, titanium, vanadium, and copper.
Unfortunately, chromium and nickel are toxic for your health. You should avoid using damaged stainless steel cookware due to their possible health risks.
Another downside of using stainless steel cookware is that food tends to get stuck unless you use lots of cooking oil. Even then, I often find that soaking the stainless steel cookware for at least 10 minutes helps enormously before cleaning.
If you are looking for an easy to clean, non-stick variety of cookware, Teflon is a popular design. One concern with Teflon is that the nonstick coating can flake off and be ingested. Typically this is more likely to happen with cheaper or poor-quality pans.
Metal utensils can scratch even high-quality nonstick surfaces, which can lead to flaking. One method of adding shelf-life to your cookware is to never use metal utensils while cooking.
Instead, use silicon cooking utensils which are freezer, microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe 🙂
If your Teflon cookware was produced prior to 2013, then it’s likely produced with a toxic chemical called PFOA. More on this topic in the next section.
Ceramic cookware is the newest material in the world of nonstick pots and pans. While ceramics have been around for several millennia, it’s becoming more popular in the use of modern kitchens.
Ceramics are widely considered to be the safest and most environmentally friendly option of the three cookware materials.
Furthermore, it has a higher heat resistance and is more scratch resistant than Teflon.
More importantly, ceramic cookware is non-reactive and doesn’t leach chemicals into your food.
Despite the energy it takes to fire a kiln, there are few materials around as durable and eco-friendly as ceramics.
Non-Stick Pots and Pans Produced Prior to 2013:
Unfortunately, when the non-stick pan was first created it was produced with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
PFOA has been linked to a number of negative health side effects. To name a few: thyroid disorders, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, testicular cancer, infertility, and low birth weight (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
Sadly, the PFOA chemical was in wide use in the production of Teflon until 2013.
The PFOA Stewardship Program, launched in 2006 by the EPA, spearheaded the elimination of PFOA from Teflon products.
In 2007, an article published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine- National Institute of Health found that PFOA was in the blood of more than 98% of people who took part in the study (1999–2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey).
Luckily, the use of PFOA has been banned in the production of cookware.
So one question to ask yourself is… Are you still cooking with non-stick pots and pans that were manufactured before 2013?
If you are using Teflon pots and pans that were manufactured before 2013, it’s time to make the investment and update your cookware.
Take this opportunity to exercise your ability to be a sustainable conscious consumer and purchase a set that is good for your health and the environment.
I have found two ceramic cookware sets at different price ranges so that you can decide which one fits your needs best.
The Cook N Home 10-piece set is the more economical option of the two sets. It includes 1 and 2-quart saucepans, a 3-quart casserole pot with a lid, a 5-quart dutch oven with a lid, and an 8-inch and 9.5-inch fry pan.
The Cook N Home set is made of thick gauge aluminum that is coated with a nonstick ceramic layer. This layer makes for quick food release and easy cleaning.
The lids are made from tempered glass, allowing you to view the food without having to remove the lid.
Moreover, the lids are versatile and fit on both the pots and the frying pans.
The drawback is that these pots are not induction (electric stovetop), oven, or dishwasher compatible.
If you have an induction stovetop or want the ability to throw your pans in the dishwasher, this next option is the way to go.
Vremi makes an awesome 8-piece cookware set that is induction stovetop compatible and dishwasher safe.
This set comes with 2 dutch oven pots with lids, 1 casserole pot with a lid, and 2 angled fry pans.
Expect this cookware set to be heavy. One of the differences between a more economical cookware set and one that is more expensive is the amount of material used.
Heavier pots and pans do a better job of heat-retention and even heat-dispersion. This is one of the reasons why the cast iron pan is so heavy.
These pots and pans double as serveware. Meaning that they can go directly from the stovetop to the dinner table. The end result being fewer dishes to clean after a meal!
What’s more, the Vremi pans have a unique fry pan design that allows for easy flipping of stir-fry, omelets, pancakes, etc. The edge across the handle is slightly longer and curves up and inward to facilitate the flipping process.
Each lid includes a small gap between the lid and body of the pan to release steam without a mess.
The cookware kit features an induction-compatible spiral bottom that works on gas, electric, and halogen stovetops.
Click here to update your kitchen with this extremely versatile and eco-friendly cookware set 🙂
The 10,000 Foot Overview:
Ceramic cookware is the clear winner when it comes to which pots and pans are the most healthy, eco-friendly, and non-toxic option.
A few last words on ceramic cookware care: It is a good idea to clean your ceramic pans with a soft cloth immediately after use. This will prevent you from having to scrub the pan later, which will accelerate the wear on the ceramic coating and shorten the life of your pan.
Due to the non-stick nature of ceramic cookware, you will be able to cook with less oil. In fact, it is best for your health and the longevity of your ceramic cookware to avoid cooking with too much oil in general.
Sustainability is an important topic that needs to address.
If global warming, climate change, and resource depletion are important to you then take the pledge to become a conscious consumer.
Start by changing simple habits. When you do need to purchase an item make sure that you really need it.
If you decide that you do need this item, try to purchase a version that is reusable (not single-use).
- Why the World is Running Out of Clean Water
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- Eco-Friendly Alternatives for a Sustainable Kitchen
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